Asked how she felt after the SÄRÖ/FRACTURE pre-incubator's final, Noha Abdelmonem, who used the programme to work on a solution to make educational materials more engaging for students, was ebullient with praise: “The programme was an amazing experience,” said a thankful Abdelmonem. “I was especially happy that it was a safe space for all of us. I had great support and insightful information from the organisers, and I made new friends!”
After two months of dedicated hard work in collaborative atmosphere developing their solutions for pressing social issues, the SÄRÖ/FRACTURE participating teams celebrated the culmination of this first phase of their journey with a final showcase at Maria01 on November 25th. The event, a somewhat festive affair, featured pitches from each of the remaining 11 teams to friends & families of the participants as well as a panel of judges.
“The final was such an exciting event!” exclaimed Chiara Facciotto, a member team ClariSci, whose solution was centred around increasing the impact of science by helping researchers communicate their work more clearly to a broader audience. “It was so inspiring to see the many ways in which our fellow teams are working towards achieving social impact in a variety of fields.”
The judging panel, consisting of Elina Pöllänen, new business & start-up development specialist at DIAK, Kati Uusi-Rauva, the head of the pre-incubator at Uniarts, and Linda Lehto, an expert in sustainability & social entrepreneurship and a programme manager for the Finnish Association of Social Enterprises, agreed that the pitches all demonstrated potential for creating meaningful impact in their fields, and provided each team with valuable feedback & guidance, highlighting areas for improvement and potential opportunities for growth.
While at the start of the programme some ideas may have been a bit rough around the edges, the teams on stage presented compelling cases for their ideas in fields such as justice, education, integration, climate change, resilience, and science communications.
“It’s clear that the participating entrepreneurs have made significant progress in refining their business models and honing their pitches,” explained a proud SÄRÖ/FRACTURE project lead Mari Karjalainen. “I’m happy to see that with the help of our team, visiting experts, and workshops they’ve all gained valuable knowledge and skills to take their ideas to the next level.”
Participants agreed. Facciotto explained that the programme gave her team, which had long been considering acting on their idea and turning it into something real, all that was needed to get going with it. “SÄRÖ/FRACTURE provided us with the tools to take our idea further, and we’re now ready to take the next step in our entrepreneurial journey.”
Abdelmonem was also thankful for what she got from the programme: “By completing SÄRÖ/FRACTURE, my idea became more crystallised, and now I have an actual plan with concrete steps on how I can develop it into a real project.”
The final also demonstrated how the organising team had succeeded in creating a warm, communal environment for the participants, and how grateful they all were for the support they’d received.
As participants received certificates for taking part in the programme, many insisted on hugging the organisers, with one going as far as presenting Karjalainen and her team with flowers as thanks.
The organisers themselves voiced their gratitude towards the participants and their efforts, emphasising that ideas like theirs are important for the world because of the potential for positive change they bring. Thanks were also given to the experts & judges who helped the teams, providing them with invaluable guidance, the Helsinki Think Company for being an invaluable partner in producing the programme, the Finnish Centre of Expertise for Social Enterprises for providing resources, and the City of Helsinki for powering the programme.
The final proved a fitting capstone for the 1st ever social impact pre-incubator programme organised by the university, and the whole Helsinki Incubators team is excited to see how the participants continue developing their ideas, including the 5 teams who continued their journey as part of the TREMOR incubator programme.